Unlike earlier, now it is mandatory for eLearning content to be accessible to all learners – including learners with disability. There are around 15% of disabled learners in the world’s population. The elearning content developers must think of innovative eLearning strategies to make eLearning accessible to all disability learners.
Learners with disability are of varied kinds. Here are some examples:
A learner who has cerebral palsy may find it difficult to understand or process information. They use voice-recognition software.
- A learner who is blind, depends on the screen reading software.
- A learner who has Dyslexia struggles to read, spell, write, and speak.
- A learner is partially blind.
- A learner has hearing impairment.
- A learner has problem with his fingers and is not able to handle the mouse
Providing effective eLearning solutions to suit the needs of the disabled learners is a challenge for content developers across the globe. Fortunately, there are eLearning solutions which are targeting the needs of the disabled learners. Technology is playing a significant role in providing perfect learning solutions for disabled learners.
In this article, we will look at some significant tips to create engaging and accessible content for disability learners.
Ensure that the eLearning course design suits all disability learners
As we have seen above, disability learners are of different kinds. The eLearning course design should be developed in such a way that all kinds of disability learners should be able to access and navigate across the course in an easy way.
- As the course is used by regular learners and disabled learners simultaneously, ‘disability options’ are to be provided when the learners access the online course.
- To suit the visually impaired learners, audio support for all onscreen text is to be provided. Along with the mouse clicking options, keyboard navigation facility is to be provided. Zooming of the screen feature should also be included.
- Instead of providing the ‘click here’ on-screen text, describe the button clearly since users who are blind, cannot see where to click.
- In case of videos, to play or pause a video, the learner should be able to use the tab rather than clicking on the video.
- As color contrast is important in readability for a visually impaired learner, ensure that contrast is a bit high. This can be made by using different tones or different colors.
- For visually impaired learners, using similar hues is beneficial rather than using different hues. Identifying different hues (for example, in a chart) will be difficult for a visually impaired learner.
- To explain the images for visually impaired learners, use ‘alt descriptions’ or ‘alt tags’, which describe the image to the visually impaired readers.
- To support the hearing impaired learners, provide audio transcript for each uttered word on the screen so that they can read the text. In the same way, all audio and video files should be accompanied with equivalent text.
- Avoid drag and drop activities as they require the learner’s agility with the mouse, which may not be possible in case of some disability learners. They can be used as tabs to present the information. These tabs can be navigated with the key board.
- If there are links in the course to be clicked, don’t simply say, ‘click the link’. Instead explain in the audio (with audio transcript as well) what the link is all about.
Keep the content short and simple
For disabled learners, ‘less’ is ‘more’ in terms of the content. Due to their slow and steady learning methods, they prefer the content to be simple and effective. Rather than dumping all the content that we assume useful, it is a good practice to present minimal content – that too – in an interesting way.
Ensure that the course is relevant to the learner
Though it sounds obvious, many content developers fail to achieve this objective because they are more keen on filling the course with information rather than checking how engaging the content is. Giving only relevant information in an interesting way would make the course more engaging for the disabled learners. Also, it is advisable to stick to the course objectives. If you successfully meet the course objectives as planned, the content would be useful to the disabled learners.
More sounds, visuals, and animations – and less text
Instead of showing a lot of text on the screen, explain the concepts with minimal text and use more relevant images, animations and appropriates sounds. A visual can express better than what a whole paragraph can. So, it is always ideal to keep on finding simple ways to teach them.
Let the course be laden with assessments
Every learner loves to solve questions. They are eager to attempt questions, excited to know if they are correct, and curious to learn the correct answer in case they are incorrect. Just as theoretical content is important to make the learner understand the concepts, checking their understanding and retention is important through elearning assessment questions.
- Diagnostic assessment questions check the learner’s current knowledge about the subject. These assessment questions are generally placed before the course begins.
- Formative assessment questions come during the learning process, which are generally placed after the related topics. The purpose of these assessment questions is to check the learner’s understanding so that feedback can be given for improvement.
Summative assessment questions are used at the end of the course to evaluate the learner’s overall understanding.
Think from disability perspective:
In fact, you can have a special team for this purpose – to think about the needs of the disability learners and to add the required solutions to tackle them. Thinking from their perspective helps us meet all the requirements they have and the challenges they face.